US Pork Barrel Weather Funding; Cold Weekend


Uncle Sam Has Funded Pork Barrels for Years

Uncle Sam Has Funded Pork Barrels for Years

1935 Texas Dust Storm, Proof That Droughts are Not New

1935 Texas Dust Storm, Proof That Droughts are Not New

On This Date in History: These days, every time there is a lack of rain in an area of the country, stories start surfacing about some who claim its an example of Global Warming.  The truth is that droughts have happened throughout the history of time.   It’s funny how when the Global Warming talk comes up, even more recent history is ignored.  The Dust Bowl years represented a pretty long time frame of below average rainfall and in conjunction with poor farming techniques, caused a disaster and helped contribute to a long economic depression.  So, these periods of dry weather over an extended period are not new.  In fact, going back through time, mankind has tried to invent a way to make it rain.  Even today, there is research going on in cloud seeding efforts to try and control the rain.  The results have been inconclusive.

In recent days, we’ve seen the “stimulus bill” in which there was much criticism over spending on projects that have been labled “pork barrell.”  This type of charge is not new and I wonder what the masses thought on this date in 1891, when the United States Department of Agriculture hired and funded a special agent.  His job was to make it rain. 

19th Century Rain Making Guns

19th Century Rain Making Guns

Now, there was a theory floating about that producing big noises in the sky would make it rain.  It was called the “concussion method” and the idea was that gunpowder explosions in the sky would create rain.   They called the process “air quakes.”  The notion was brought forth by Edward Powers who in 1880 wrote that in wars, often when there was a heavy cannonade, significant rain soon followed.  He said that the jarring of the air combined with smoke caused a reaction with “nuclei or mechanical retaining points.”   He also suggested that the atmospheric pressure was affected by the concussion and the buoyancy of the gases and heat given off by the explosion forced a rising of the air which caused a disturbance.  Somehow, he then deduced that the explosions created electricity and friction “producing polarization of the earth and sky…inducing…other conditions necessary for storm formation, electrical manifestation being a constant forerunner and concomitant of storms…”  There were other theories of rain making but General Robert St. George Dyrenforth said he didn’t understand those but, as an old soldier, he too had observed copius amounts of rain following cannon battles.  So that’s the one he went along with and got the backing of Illinois Senator Charles B. Farwell.  Just like today, all you need to do is convince a politician that you deserve government money and bingo..into the budget you go.  As I’ve pointed out many times on these here pages…what we see today is nothing new.  I guess no one ever thought that maybe it would have rained whether there was a battle or not.  Nope…it had to be the cannon fire!  Never mind the times it did not rain after a battle…just like some ignore the droughts of the past today.

This Rain Making Lab Was on Rails
This Rain Making Lab Was on Rails

In 1890, Congress appropriated about $9,000 to test out the theory and hired Dyrenforth to do the deed. Experimentation began in 1891 at c Ranch in Andrews County near Midland, Texas.  The experimentation continued throughout 1891 and Governor James Stephen Hogg of Texas was so excited he wrote a letter to Texas politician John Dix announcing his intent to observe the action.  When Hogg found out that Dyrenforth had returned to Washington, he added a note at the bottom of the letter suggesting that the experiments continue in the Southwestern part of Texas, which they did through 1892 near San Antonio.

Chinese Used Rain Making Cannon at 2008 Olympics

Chinese Used Rain Making Cannon at 2008 Olympics

Well, Dyrenforth piled up enough munitions to start a small war.   He fired cannons into the sky, attached explosive to kites and did anything else he could think of to send ripples through the atmosphere to create a cloud burst.  Reportedly, one time it did rain.  The rest of the time, he came up dry.  One would think that over a long period of time more than once at least a rain shower would show up on its own, but apparently the General wasn’t that lucky.   One editor reported that “he attacked front and rear, by the right and left flank.  But the sky remained clear as the complexion of a Saxon maid.”  Dyrenforth’s official job title at the Department of Agriculture was pluviculturist.  That’s the governmental term for rainmaker.  The people of Texas came up with their own title for him…General Dryhenceforth. 

Severe Threat Through 7AM Friday Morning

Severe Threat Through 7AM Friday Morning

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Weather Bottom Line:  Really a kinda interesting situation getting going here for the weekend.  The severe threat for early Friday morning is limited and mainly west with gusty winds the primary threat around here, but I suspect the time of night will probably limit

Japan Model 24hr Precip 7AM Sat to 7AM Sun

Japan Model 24hr Precip 7AM Sat to 7AM Sun

the ferocity somewhat.  I’ve got details at the bottom.  Now, this time, I’ve gone around the world to bring you weather depictions.  I’ve got the Canadians, the Brits and the Japanese to go along with the GFS and NAM models.  All of them have snow near but not over us.  There are two schools of thought.  One is that the front comes through and a shortwave dives down and brings snow from say St. Louis to Paducah.  Then there is the other idea that as the shortwave digs to the base of the trof, it swings around and brings snow from say

NAM Snow Accum Thru Sun Eve

NAM Snow Accum Thru Sun Eve

Lexington through the eastern part of the state.  The NAM is pretty bullish on this scenario.  Now, I just don’t think that the models are smart enough to put such a donut hole over us.  So, while the heaviest snow in this go-round of the models is close but not here, I just would not count on there being nothing.  Let’s say a half inch or so and maybe even some rain going to snow…or like I said yesterday…similar to last Saturday.  The difference between what I said yesterday  and now is that the data suggests the event is on Saturday rather than Saturday night and Sunday morning. 

UKMet Precip Through 7AM Sun

UKMet Precip Through 7AM Sun

It’s also coming together temperature wise pretty much as I thought it might which is in between the milder forecasts that we saw on tv earlier this week and the extreme cold showing up on some of the earlier models.  I would suggest preparing for a mild start on Friday but to be

Canadian Precip Sun AM

Canadian Precip Sun AM

ready for blustery conditions for the afternoons with temperatures in the upper 30’s.  We’re probably looking at the 30’s for highs on Saturday and Sunday and maybe up to the low 40’s on Monday.  Generally cloudy conditions will prevail Friday through the weekend with maybe a break coming on Monday afternoon or so.  We start a gradual warm up by Tuesday into midweek.

  DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0633 PM CST THU FEB 26 2009
  
   VALID 270100Z – 271200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM IL TO NERN TX…
  
   …MID MS VALLEY TO NERN TX…
   
  

SVR Wind Threat Thru 7AM Friday

SVR Wind Threat Thru 7AM Friday

 WELL DEFINED UPPER VORT MAX IS SHIFTING EAST ALONG THE MN/IA BORDER
   WITH TRAILING SHORTWAVE TROUGH EXTENDING SWD ALONG THE KS/MO BORDER.
    LARGE SCALE ASCENT REMAINS FOCUSED PRIMARILY WITHIN WARM ADVECTION
   ZONE ALONG/NORTH OF RETREATING WARM FRONT WHERE EXPANDING
   PRECIPITATION SHIELD IS SPREADING ACROSS THE GREAT LAKES.  ALTHOUGH
   ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ARE EMBEDDED WITHIN THIS COOLER
   PRECIPITATION…STRONGEST CONVECTIVE UPDRAFTS ARE FOCUSED ALONG
   ADVANCING COLD FRONT FROM WCNTRL IL…SWWD INTO NERN OK.  THIS TREND
   SHOULD CONTINUE THROUGH THE NIGHT AS MORE MEANINGFUL INSTABILITY
   EXISTS SOUTH OF I-70 OVER MO…PARTICULARLY SWRN MO INTO SERN OK/WRN
   AR.  THUNDERSTORMS FROM SGF TO FSM ARE INTENSIFYING WITHIN THIS
   HIGHER ZONE OF INSTABILITY AND STRONG DEEP LAYER SHEAR.  00Z
   SOUNDING FROM SGF DEPICTS STEEP LAPSE RATE ENVIRONMENT…7-7.5
   C/KM…WITH ENOUGH BUOYANCY FOR ROBUST UPDRAFTS…MUCAPE ROUGHLY
   1500 J/KG.  ALTHOUGH STRONG CONVERGENCE ALONG THE COLD FRONT WILL
   ENHANCE LINEAR DEVELOPMENT…STORM MODE REMAINS SOMEWHAT DISCRETE
   ACROSS THIS REGION SUGGESTING SUPERCELLS ARE POSSIBLE FOR THE NEXT
   FEW HOURS AT LEAST.  WITH TIME CONVECTION SHOULD DEVELOP SWD ALONG
   WIND SHIFT OVER SERN OK INTO PORTIONS OF NERN TX.  A BROKEN SQUALL
   LINE WITH EMBEDDED SUPERCELLS SHOULD THEN PROGRESS ACROSS MO/AR INTO
   SRN IL LATER THIS EVENING INTO THE OVERNIGHT HOURS WITH LARGE HAIL
   AND DAMAGING WINDS.  ISOLATED TORNADOES CAN NOT BE RULED OUT WITH
   SUPERCELL STRUCTURES OVER SRN MO INTO AR…ESPECIALLY THIS EVENING
   BEFORE CONVECTIVE MODE BECOME A BIT MORE LINEAR IN NATURE.
  
   ..DARROW.. 02/27/2009

GFS SnowAccum Through Sun Eve

GFS SnowAccum Through Sun Eve

3 Responses

  1. Pluviculturist is a word that I’ve never heard before, I must admit. It’s kind of difficult to add such a word to one’s vocabulary since it hardly ever comes up in conversation. Maybe during the next drought I will remember to look up in the sky and say, “We sure could use a good pluviculturist today!”. That would undoubtedly impress those standing nearby who happen to know what that word means (hopefully the context will give it away). Apparently our word-of-the-day comes from the latin “pluvia” which means “cannon fire”. I’m kidding. Pluvia is latin for “rain” according to my dictionary. Etymology has always facinated me. That probably speaks volumes regarding my personality!

    I love the moniker for your featured pluviculturist General Dryhenceforth. Such word plays amuse me and that one is particularly clever. Lingual ability is not respected much today or so it seems. I’ve always admired people with a good command of the language; people such as Charles Dickens and Mark Twain come to mind. Mark Steyn (political commentator) is very adept lingually also. I love to hear him speak whenever he’s on Michael Medved’s show. I guess this is not a coveted skill in today’s time. We can thank our so-called education system for that, I suppose. Maybe it’s rap. Of course, I’ve been known to blame every societal ill on rap that I possibly can though so perhaps that’s not fair. I’ve alway said that when they named “rap” they left the “c” out!

    It would be great to have another snow this weekend particularly if it’s like last weekend: On the grass but not the street. My sister, who was visiting from Seattle last weekend, did slip and fall on our driveway though! I salted next to her rental car but she left and didn’t park in the same place when she came back. Whoops! I don’t think that she suffered any permanent damage–just wounded pride. It would be great if we got exactly six inches this weekend, wouldn’t it? I’m afraid I’d have to call up Fox41 and leave a comment for our mutual friend if that were to happen. It’s probably not in the cards though and that’s for the best perhaps since I wouldn’t want to miss church. I probably wouldn’t be that mean to Mr. Weinberg either. He’s just a guy with what appears to be too much eye make-up trying to make a living, after all.

  2. Snow White took a spill on Saturday night. I’m afraid that she may have had a mild concussion. She thought that she called me at 8:30 but my cell phone says 9:16. I’m afraid that she was knocked unconscious for awhile. She is very sore still and not feeling well but the doctor couldn’t find anything problematic. Im thankful that she didn’t get hit by a car. She said that she got up and found the car frozen. She knew that she had to scrape the windsheild and prayed aloud. She said that the front window simply melted away and she merely had to slide the ice off with her hand. Now you know partly why I call her Snow White. Truly a blessed soul.

  3. Oh, goodness! Well, I’m glad that she’s OK. It’s good that you had her checked out though. Once she gets over the soreness I would think that she’ll be OK. Snow White sounds like a real prize, Bob, and I’ve always told my son that if you find a good woman, you’d better take care of her. There’s not too many out there, at least from what I hear. My momma didn’t raise no dummy: I know a good thing when I’ve got it! We’re both blessed, I’d say.

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